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Hive materials and local clubs


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Hi

My wife and I moved to a small lifestyle block in Timaru a couple of years ago. I am keen to try beekeeping. I have a large quantity of tree lucerne on the block I planted as drought food for stock, and we back onto a dairy farm, which has gorse fencing, so plenty of food.

I am keen on the top bar design because wifey thinks it is more natural so I get little choice. I am thinking of the tanzanian type, that will fit conventional nucs if we can't get a swarm and have to buy a nuc (the wife is keen on trying to trap a swarm, or rather , send me out to do it!).

What materials can be used? I was going to use 8x1" or 12"x1 timber but not sure if treated timber from mitre 10 or similar is okay. I saw today a heap of 1200x300 12mm plywood planks on special for around $5 each. Could I use these for at least part of the hive, and paint them with metalex on the inside and acrylic on the outside? From what I have read on the forums, metalex is fine.

I also happen to be the Agriculture teacher at a local high school, and we have a 2ha farmlet, so who knows, I might get to expand operations once I know what i am doing.

 

Plus does anyone know of a local beekeeping group in Timaru or South Canterbury.

 

Apologies if my questions have been covered before.

 

Thanks

 

Mark

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untreated 12x1 and 4x1 rough sawn is the most cost effective for top bar hives.

Matt Synge at John Paul College in Rotorua runs a bee club with a lot of hives.

that price for the ply sounds nothing special; avoid. Focus on untreated rough sawn 12x1 5m and 4x1 17m.

I run mostly top bars for a load of reasons, 'natural' has some appeal but it is not in the list of practical reasons.

We also run a Lang foundationless, which might be considered just as natural.

catching a swarm is good, but you'll need to be on a swarm catcher list to have plenty of opportunity.

Even if you build a nice top bar and catch a swarm and join a club, about the best thing you can do is find a tamed local beekeeper to provide you with a sounding board and a few hours time to time of mentoring to help you avoid any major snafu.

If there are vocational work experience opportunities that help the beekeeper and the students, that is a plus.

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Welcome to beekeeping Mark. Best advice is find a local beekeeper who can mentor you. If they use Tanzanian top bars then great. If they use conventional langstroth hives then I'd suggest you do the same until you have a few seasons under your belt.

 

Treated timber is generally frowned upon for hives except for the bearers that rest upon the ground. This is because honey and wax tend to absorb chemicals - you wouldn't want to eat treated timber, would you?

 

If you go the langstroth route then you'd be hard pressed to make hive boxes cheaper than you can buy them flat pack.

 

As for support, how far away is Dunedin? @tudor is a regular on here and he supports a number of beekeepers around Dunedin. If you're closer to Christchurch then contact @glynn. He's setting up a beekeeping group in the Selwyn area.

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Welcome to beekeeping Mark. Best advice is find a local beekeeper who can mentor you. If they use Tanzanian top bars then great. If they use conventional langstroth hives then I'd suggest you do the same until you have a few seasons under your belt.

 

Treated timber is generally frowned upon for hives except for the bearers that rest upon the ground. This is because honey and wax tend to absorb chemicals - you wouldn't want to eat treated timber, would you?

 

If you go the langstroth route then you'd be hard pressed to make hive boxes cheaper than you can buy them flat pack.

 

As for support, how far away is Dunedin? @tudor is a regular on here and he supports a number of beekeepers around Dunedin. If you're closer to Christchurch then contact @glynn. He's setting up a beekeeping group in the Selwyn area.

@Rob Stockley Timaru is about halfway between Dunedin and Christchurch, so a couple of hours from help either way. I am sure there are closer friendly beekeepers.

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Yep every second Sunday of the month in Kirwee their is someone coming to the next meet up that wants to start a topbar I'm keen to see how they get on. Their is lots of info on here to look through

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Hi

My wife and I moved to a small lifestyle block in Timaru a couple of years ago. I am keen to try beekeeping. I have a large quantity of tree lucerne on the block I planted as drought food for stock, and we back onto a dairy farm, which has gorse fencing, so plenty of food.

I am keen on the top bar design because wifey thinks it is more natural so I get little choice. I am thinking of the tanzanian type, that will fit conventional nucs if we can't get a swarm and have to buy a nuc (the wife is keen on trying to trap a swarm, or rather , send me out to do it!).

What materials can be used? I was going to use 8x1" or 12"x1 timber but not sure if treated timber from mitre 10 or similar is okay. I saw today a heap of 1200x300 12mm plywood planks on special for around $5 each. Could I use these for at least part of the hive, and paint them with metalex on the inside and acrylic on the outside? From what I have read on the forums, metalex is fine.

I also happen to be the Agriculture teacher at a local high school, and we have a 2ha farmlet, so who knows, I might get to expand operations once I know what i am doing.

 

Plus does anyone know of a local beekeeping group in Timaru or South Canterbury.

 

Apologies if my questions have been covered before.

 

Thanks

 

Mark

If I were you I would start with two conventional hives.

Top bar hives are all well and good but they are not what most people keep, so there will be less people who you can ask for help.

I for one know nothing about them.

 

Also there are a few alternative beeks out there who are as nutty as a fruitcake, and if you don't know any better it's easy enough to get off on the wrong foot with a lot of money down the drain and nothing to show for it.

 

Bees actually really like conventional hives, if they didn't then why do they stay there, plenty of hollow trees around ;)

Focus on making things easier for you - the beekeeper, the bees really don't care.

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So in South Island terms that's like, two doors down, isn't it?

Anyone within 5klm is a close neighbour.

5klm to 10 klm is the the guy just down the road .

10 to 20 klm is the guy further down the road .

Anyone over 30 klm away is someone you possibly may not know .

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If I were you I would start with two conventional hives.

Top bar hives are all well and good but they are not what most people keep, so there will be less people who you can ask for help.

I for one know nothing about them.

 

Also there are a few alternative beeks out there who are as nutty as a fruitcake, and if you don't know any better it's easy enough to get off on the wrong foot with a lot of money down the drain and nothing to show for it.

 

Bees actually really like conventional hives, if they didn't then why do they stay there, plenty of hollow trees around ;)

Focus on making things easier for you - the beekeeper, the bees really don't care.

 

Yeah but the thing is wifey not keen on boxes. She wants a source of wax for stuff. Topbars and their variants are becoming more common. I don't intend to spend a lot of money. May even try to catch a swarm rather than buy a nuc. My mate has 6 hives so will give me guidance on bee handling, so I am not exactly going in cold. If a top bar doesn't work then I may try something else. I am no rush.

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Yeah but the thing is wifey not keen on boxes. She wants a source of wax for stuff. Topbars and their variants are becoming more common. I don't intend to spend a lot of money. May even try to catch a swarm rather than buy a nuc. My mate has 6 hives so will give me guidance on bee handling, so I am not exactly going in cold. If a top bar doesn't work then I may try something else. I am no rush.

I have a huge huge supply of wax from my conventional hives.

How much wax you get is more to do with how your honey is extracted.

 

I can understand why they appeal to you, I'm not trying to knock top bar hives, and if your friend is running them successfully then I'm sure you'll be fine.

 

I think people seem to make up a whole lot of rubbish about what system is best for the bees, without there being a whole lot of truth to it sometimes.

I think the beekeeping is far more important than the hiveware.

 

I would recommend you catch a swarm too :D they are usually very fast at drawing wax and will perform about 5x faster then a NUC will, for free.

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And it is really important to do a simple course with enough theory to understand how bees live and develop, and practical bee keeping so you can get the suit on, light a smoker, open a hive, identify its contents and types of bees, and hopefully see a queen.

If people have just get some info from a friend, who may know very little about bee keeping, their ignorance protects them from working out why their bees either swarmed or died.

Over the past few years we have taught about 50 bee keepers a very simple intro course, and many have become very good bee keepers - and many either did not get bees, or gave up quite soon.

And to repeat, Langstroth boxes are so much easier to learn about bee keeping, then add Top Bar Hives in a couple of years when you really understand what the bees need to do.

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Langstroth boxes are so much easier to learn about bee keeping

 

I was in full agreement, up to that point, but then I'm sorry you lost me. However, just because I'm in the minority, doesn't mean I'm necessarily wrong or right. I am however doing it with top bars and with Langs. I never touch a lang without a smoker already going. I rarely light smoker before working a top bar unless it is known to be bonkers.

I'd actually suggest the opposite that several years of Lang's makes it harder to operate top bars. It is because it is very easy to confuse what you know about bees with what you know about hives. A blank sheet of paper makes it easier in my opinion. A motorcycle racer like Valentio Rossi was not very successful racing cars, but it was still a combustion engine combined with driving and steering..

 

But still I agree with all the rest of your points and don't want to undermine the big picture.

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I was in full agreement, up to that point, but then I'm sorry you lost me. However, just because I'm in the minority, doesn't mean I'm necessarily wrong or right. I am however doing it with top bars and with Langs. I never touch a lang without a smoker already going. I rarely light smoker before working a top bar unless it is known to be bonkers.

I'd actually suggest the opposite that several years of Lang's makes it harder to operate top bars. It is because it is very easy to confuse what you know about bees with what you know about hives. A blank sheet of paper makes it easier in my opinion. A motorcycle racer like Valentio Rossi was not very successful racing cars, but it was still a combustion engine combined with driving and steering..

 

But still I agree with all the rest of your points and don't want to undermine the big picture.

You make me want to get a top bar.

I have a feeling I won't have a lot of trouble with it, I've done quite a bit of beekeeping.

But I think it's probably the wax drawing that gets most people, you'd want to start them on a good honey flow.

 

I think the main thing is that there are less people who know about them.

And it is a bit like deciding your first car is going to be a Porsche.

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I was in full agreement, up to that point, but then I'm sorry you lost me. However, just because I'm in the minority, doesn't mean I'm necessarily wrong or right. I am however doing it with top bars and with Langs. I never touch a lang without a smoker already going. I rarely light smoker before working a top bar unless it is known to be bonkers.

I'd actually suggest the opposite that several years of Lang's makes it harder to operate top bars. It is because it is very easy to confuse what you know about bees with what you know about hives. A blank sheet of paper makes it easier in my opinion. A motorcycle racer like Valentio Rossi was not very successful racing cars, but it was still a combustion engine combined with driving and steering..

 

But still I agree with all the rest of your points and don't want to undermine the big picture.

Why are top bar hives more docile?

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